Gathered in Paris for the annual meeting of the European branches of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), representatives from Austria, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands , Switzerland and Wales express their deep concern at the increase in armament and military spending in response to the cost of the ongoing war.
History teaches that militaristic response leads to increased armed conflict and that war is a disaster for humanity and for the entire planet. This attitude is dangerous and creates the illusory hypothesis of maintaining peace through the violence of arms.
The war in Ukraine demonstrates once again that violence creates more violence and we need an effective alternative to transform the conflict and ensure lasting peace. Active non-violence is the alternative that can ensure a future for our community. We recognize the many non-violent efforts made by Ukrainians as well as those who peacefully protest the war in Russia and are imprisoned.
IFOR began in 1914 with an explicit pledge to refuse to engage in World War I. As members of IFOR, we invite to learn from the past and support non-violent resistance, dialogue, peace negotiations, civil intervention, reconciliation process in order to de-escalate violent conflict.
We stand in solidarity with those who refuse to engage in the war in Ukraine and all other wars, and with those who oppose it and seek protection in other countries.
We call on all European countries to work for peace, through non-violence and not to seek peace through arms. We urge the European Union to genuinely pursue peace in practice and deed. We need a peaceful alliance, not a military alliance.
We also extend our warm invitation to Church leaders and religious groups to unite expressly in their efforts to uphold peace and reject war.
We call on our governments to urgently engage in peace efforts and refrain from supporting the military system and war through military spending, arms production and trade.
In particular, one week before the historic conference to be held in Vienna on the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), we urge all remaining European countries to sign the United Nations treaty, to participate in the Vienna conference at least as many observer members and pledge yourselves to free the world from this imminent threat to life on earth.